A little over one year after taking over as the chief executive for the Malta-based online sports betting and casino gaming operator Interwetten, 28-year-old Dominik Beier has had to navigate a turbulent and trying couple of months, since the novel coronavirus began to sideline sports and bring numerous industries to a halt, and to their knees.
Not exactly what many expected from 2020, but here we are. And here we are now, one week away from a mammoth digital summit by Sports Betting Community (SBC), which quickly assembled the world’s largest online event in betting and gaming when COVID-19 forced the postponement of the massive Betting on Sports America (BOSA) conference in New Jersey that would have taken place at this time.
Beier will appear during the digital summit as a panelist (agenda here) on Monday, April 27 at 6:20 am EST (12:20 pm CEST), addressing the question, what’s there to bet on now? At least for this one weekend in the U.S., sportsbooks and bettors alike will enjoy some sense of normalcy with the NFL Draft and a range of markets like never before.
Sports Handle (SH): What event/sport has seen the largest uptick in betting handle since most sports got sidelined in early- to mid-March?
Dominik Beier (DB): Generally speaking, live sports is even more important than it has been before. As the offer is limited at the moment, all sports which are still taking place have gained relevance. Especially eSports stakes have increased but also table-tennis is a big winner, since they have never stopped playing and it’s a sport which is played without body contact.
SH: How high is the ceiling for eSports betting? What are the greatest regulatory hurdles, and what’s the other biggest hurdle in the way of it becoming a sportsbook staple?
DB: I still believe that eSports is a big opportunity for our industry but we haven’t managed to tackle it correctly. Betting behavior will mostly likely get back to normal as soon as all leagues have started again but this crisis has shown the potential of eSports for sure. We will need to tackle it the right way, find the right product and communication approach in order to build it up sustainably, and not just see it as another sport such as volleyball or hockey.
SH: How do you think bettors will react when their favorite sports or leagues return to action?
DB: I think that all sports fans are desperate for any sport to happen again. So I am sure that the behavior will be quite high and intense at the beginning and then get back to a level which we have seen before.
SH: In what way are online sportsbooks most likely to look different one year from now, when a COVID-19 vaccine exists? (Let’s be hopeful.)
DB: I think, not only online sportsbooks, but many companies have seen that working remotely, from home, or other places, works well and might be a good way to create and carry out your work more flexibly. I am sure that’s one of the major learnings for all industries during this crisis.
SH: Is there anything you’ve learned about (any segment of) the sports betting clientele during this unprecedented stoppage that’s surprised you?
DB: What has really surprised me personally is that behaviors, such as preferred days of betting (i.e. weekend), hasn’t changed at all although there has now been a constant offer over the past weeks and not the big sports events over the weekend. Still, the weekend has been prime time for the customers.
SH: Anything else in particular on your mind?
DB: Does anyone know when the big European football leagues come back? I think that’s the question the whole industry is asking for at the moment.
The SBC Digital Summit runs from April 27 to May 1, 2020 and includes seven conference tracks focused on Leadership in Betting, Leadership in Gaming, the Latin American market, lotteries, payments, the U.S. market, and digital marketing.
The thousands of delegates logging in from around the world can also take in a virtual exhibition featuring the latest offerings from the betting and gaming industry’s most innovative suppliers, attend the numerous product demos and special webinars at the exhibition booths, and make valuable new contacts in the virtual networking lounges.
Find full details of the SBC Digital Summit, including information about how to register and discounts available on company group passes, at the event’s official website.